Pine table inspires memories
Growing up, my family sat at the table for our meals. In the evenings, we would sit at a large, beautiful, antique dining table nestled in the breakfast nook of the kitchen. There was a wall of windows and a glass door which provided ample lighting during the day. During the holidays, the windows were adorned with little fabric wreaths. In the corner my mom placed an epic wingback chair covered in a bold tiger print and a ficus tree. We moved from this house and left this dining space in 2005, but although 15 years have passed since I saw it in person, the visual memory and sensory memory are very strong. Acquiring the pine table for our own home allowed me to place myself at the kitchen table of my childhood, traveling through time and memories.
For the last five years I haven’t had a proper dining table. Life circumstances changed, I moved a lot, lived alone for a while, briefly had a roommate with a great table, and then moved again, and again. It seemed like table culture, table life was not in the cards for me. When Dan and I lived at Rose Street, we had a small (and I mean small) breakfast nook where we placed a table from Ikea. It backed up into a corner and really couldn’t seat more than two people unless we blocked an entrance. The table was small (kind of ugly) and had four of the most uncomfortable tables known to man. This table found its way to our next home, (aka Stinky House). It sat there in the breakfast nook, but no one was excited to sit at it. Of course, we tried numerous times to have meals there. The disaster known as Thanksgiving 2019 happened at that table as did a few birthday meals and manners lessons. The table, though, just wasn’t cutting it.
Finally, we moved into a home with a proper dining room, but due to the lack of funds brought on by moving and with the existence of the unsatisfactory Ikea table, we did not buy a table when we moved it. We limped along with the table until about April when Houston shut down due to COVID.
The Need for a Desk or Table
At this time, it became obvious that Dan would be working from home and needed an office and a desk. So, Ikea table was moved and turned into a workstation. Still, we weren’t quite sure what to do since we didn’t want to spend money on just any table and with the world pretty shut down, didn’t want to go rummaging around craigslist or a store to find a dining table.
So, we kept doing what we’ve done for months and months. Eating like many people, on their sofas at the coffee table.
When the kids were here, they would sit at the counter while Dan and I sat on the sofa holding plates or sitting on the floor pretending the coffee table was a normal table. Not sure if you’ve tried cutting a steak with a plate in your lap, but it doesn’t work well.
Finally, November 2020 arrives. We recently bought some outdoor chairs for the patio and realized we had no patio table to go between them. So, on election day, we set off to The Guild Shop and Bluebird Circle to hunt for patio furniture. Of course, since we were at these amazing resale shops, we had to look around! The Guild Shop was screening customers and we waited in line at the Bluebird Circle for 20 minutes to get in, so we were definitely going to look around a bit.
We quickly realized Bluebird Circle did not have any patio furniture. Obviously, after waiting for 20 minutes, we were not just going to walk away. So, we started looking all around just to see what was there.
The Pine Table
That’s when we found it. We stumbled upon a beautiful pine table with a note attached to it. “Pine Table. English c. 1800. Shipped from England three years ago…” There was a receipt as well dating back to the early 1990’s when the table was brought over and sold in a shop in Tennessee. The table was gorgeous. Solid. Weathered. Distressed from age and use, but beautiful.
For whatever reason, we walked out. We walked away. As we sat in our car Dan said, “You know, that pine table would make a really good desk…” So, back in line we went. Waited again. Got in, and bought it.
Originally we thought it would go in the window and serve as Dan’s desk, but when we got it home it was obvious that this was our dining table. It fit the room. It fit the house, but most importantly, it fit us.
Now, our meals our different. We sit at the table for breakfast and dinner when we are together. I sit at it all the time to write, do zoom meetings, and read.
The table changed how Dan’s kids sit at the table…how we all sit at the table. The kids love it, they want to sit there, they want us to light candles, they want to use their best manners. It has truly transformed dinner time, family time, and our daily routines.
Bringing back memories
Sitting at the table makes childhood memories flood back into my mind. While I can’t share all of them today, the mere fact that I can think of them now without a lot of sadness is really good for me.
My family experienced a tremendous amount of loss between 2005-2013. These years shook us and changed us forever. However, what we have maintained when we are together is the simple act of sitting together at a table for a meal.
I’m beyond grateful for our pine table. It is weathered, has scratches and dings, but it is sturdy and beautiful. My hope is that we are able to create our memories and traditions at this table, providing a place of safety, love, and community.